HTML5 Boilerplate homepage | Documentation table of contents

Extend and customise HTML5 Boilerplate

Here is some useful advice for how you can make your project with HTML5 Boilerplate even better. We don’t want to include it all by default, as not everything fits with everyone’s needs.

App Stores

Smart App Banners in iOS 6+ Safari

Stop bothering everyone with gross modals advertising your entry in the App Store. Including the following meta tag will unobtrusively give the user the option to download your iOS app, or open it with some data about the user’s current state on the website.

<meta name="apple-itunes-app" content="app-id=APP_ID,app-argument=SOME_TEXT">

DNS prefetching

In short, DNS Prefetching is a method of informing the browser of domain names referenced on a site so that the client can resolve the DNS for those hosts, cache them, and when it comes time to use them, have a faster turn around on the request.

Implicit prefetches

There is a lot of prefetching done for you automatically by the browser. When the browser encounters an anchor in your html that does not share the same domain name as the current location the browser requests, from the client OS, the IP address for this new domain. The client first checks its cache and then, lacking a cached copy, makes a request from a DNS server. These requests happen in the background and are not meant to block the rendering of the page.

The goal of this is that when the foreign IP address is finally needed it will already be in the client cache and will not block the loading of the foreign content. Fewer requests result in faster page load times. The perception of this is increased on a mobile platform where DNS latency can be greater.

Explicit prefetches

Typically the browser only scans the HTML for foreign domains. If you have resources that are outside of your HTML (a javascript request to a remote server or a CDN that hosts content that may not be present on every page of your site, for example) then you can queue up a domain name to be prefetched.

<link rel="dns-prefetch" href="//">
<link rel="dns-prefetch" href="">

You can use as many of these as you need, but it’s best if they are all immediately after the Meta Charset element (which should go right at the top of the head), so the browser can act on them ASAP.

Amazon S3:

<link rel="dns-prefetch" href="//">

Google APIs:

<link rel="dns-prefetch" href="">

Microsoft Ajax Content Delivery Network:

<link rel="dns-prefetch" href="//">
<link rel="dns-prefetch" href="//">

Further reading about DNS prefetching


Google Universal Analytics

More tracking settings

The optimized Google Universal Analytics snippet included with HTML5 Boilerplate includes something like this:

ga('create', 'UA-XXXXX-X', 'auto'); ga('send', 'pageview');

To customize further, see Google’s Advanced Setup, Pageview, and Event Docs.

Track jQuery AJAX requests in Google Analytics

An article by @JangoSteve explains how to track jQuery AJAX requests in Google Analytics.

Add this to plugins.js:

 * Log all jQuery AJAX requests to Google Analytics
 * See:
if (typeof ga !== "undefined" && ga !== null) {
    $(document).ajaxSend(function(event, xhr, settings){
        ga('send', 'pageview', settings.url);

Track JavaScript errors in Google Analytics

Add this function after ga is defined:

    var undefined,
        link = function (href) {
            var a = window.document.createElement('a');
            a.href = href;
            return a;
    window.onerror = function (message, file, line, column) {
        var host = link(file).hostname;
        ga('send', {
          'hitType': 'event',
          'eventCategory': (host == window.location.hostname || host == undefined || host == '' ? '' : 'external ') + 'error',
          'eventAction': message,
          'eventLabel': (file + ' LINE: ' + line + (column ? ' COLUMN: ' + column : '')).trim(),
          'nonInteraction': 1

Track page scroll

Add this function after ga is defined. Note, the following snippet requires jQuery.

    var isDuplicateScrollEvent,
        scrollTimeStart = new Date,
        $window = $(window),
        $document = $(document),

    $window.scroll(function() {
        scrollPercent = Math.round(100 * ($window.height() + $window.scrollTop())/$document.height());
        if (scrollPercent > 90 && !isDuplicateScrollEvent) { //page scrolled to 90%
            isDuplicateScrollEvent = 1;
            ga('send', 'event', 'scroll',
                'Window: ' + $window.height() + 'px; Document: ' + $document.height() + 'px; Time: ' + Math.round((new Date - scrollTimeStart )/1000,1) + 's'

Internet Explorer

IE Pinned Sites

Enabling your application for pinning will allow IE users to add it to their Windows Taskbar and Start Menu. This comes with a range of new tools that you can easily configure with the elements below. See more documentation on IE Pinned Sites.

Name the Pinned Site for Windows

Without this rule, Windows will use the page title as the name for your application.

<meta name="application-name" content="Sample Title">

Give your Pinned Site a tooltip

You know — a tooltip. A little textbox that appears when the user holds their mouse over your Pinned Site’s icon.

<meta name="msapplication-tooltip" content="A description of what this site does.">

Set a default page for your Pinned Site

If the site should go to a specific URL when it is pinned (such as the homepage), enter it here. One idea is to send it to a special URL so you can track the number of pinned users, like so:

<meta name="msapplication-starturl" content="">

Recolor IE’s controls manually for a Pinned Site

IE will automatically use the overall color of your Pinned Site’s favicon to shade its browser buttons. UNLESS you give it another color here. Only use named colors (red) or hex colors (#ff0000).

<meta name="msapplication-navbutton-color" content="#ff0000">

Manually set the window size of a Pinned Site

If the site should open at a certain window size once pinned, you can specify the dimensions here. It only supports static pixel dimensions. 800x600 minimum.

<meta name="msapplication-window" content="width=800;height=600">

Jump List “Tasks” for Pinned Sites

Add Jump List Tasks that will appear when the Pinned Site’s icon gets a right-click. Each Task goes to the specified URL, and gets its own mini icon (essentially a favicon, a 16x16 .ICO). You can add as many of these as you need.

<meta name="msapplication-task" content="name=Task 1;action-uri=http://host/Page1.html;icon-uri=http://host/icon1.ico">
<meta name="msapplication-task" content="name=Task 2;action-uri=;icon-uri=http://host/icon2.ico">

(Windows 8) High quality visuals for Pinned Sites

Windows 8 adds the ability for you to provide a PNG tile image and specify the tile’s background color. Full details on the IE blog.

  • Create a 144x144 image of your site icon, filling all of the canvas, and using a transparent background.
  • Save this image as a 32-bit PNG and optimize it without reducing colour-depth. It can be named whatever you want (e.g. metro-tile.png).
  • To reference the tile and its color, add the HTML meta elements described in the IE Blog post.

(Windows 8) Badges for Pinned Sites

IE will poll an XML document for badge information to display on your app’s tile in the Start screen. The user will be able to receive these badge updates even when your app isn’t actively running. The badge’s value can be a number, or one of a predefined list of glyphs.

<meta name="msapplication-badge" value="frequency=NUMBER_IN_MINUTES;polling-uri=">

Direct search spiders to your sitemap

After creating a sitemap

Submit it to search engine tool:

  • Google
  • Bing
  • Yandex
  • Baidu OR Insert the following line anywhere in your robots.txt file, specifying the path to your sitemap:

Hide pages from search engines

According to Heather Champ, former community manager at Flickr, you should not allow search engines to index your “Contact Us” or “Complaints” page if you value your sanity. This is an HTML-centric way of achieving that.

<meta name="robots" content="noindex">


Firefox and IE Search Plugins

Sites with in-site search functionality should be strongly considered for a browser search plugin. A “search plugin” is an XML file which defines how your plugin behaves in the browser. How to make a browser search plugin.

<link rel="search" title="" type="application/opensearchdescription+xml" href="">


News Feeds


Have an RSS feed? Link to it here. Want to learn how to write an RSS feed from scratch?

<link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" title="RSS" href="/rss.xml">


Atom is similar to RSS, and you might prefer to use it instead of or in addition to it. See what Atom’s all about.

<link rel="alternate" type="application/atom+xml" title="Atom" href="/atom.xml">


Your server may be notified when another site links to yours. The href attribute should contain the location of your pingback service.

<link rel="pingback" href="">
  • High-level explanation:
  • Step-by-step example case:
  • PHP pingback service:

Social Networks

Facebook Open Graph data

You can control the information that Facebook and others display when users share your site. Below are just the most basic data points you might need. For specific content types (including “website”), see Facebook’s built-in Open Graph content templates. Take full advantage of Facebook’s support for complex data and activity by following the Open Graph tutorial.

For a reference of Open Graph’s markup and properties, you may check Facebook’s Open Graph Protocol reference. Finally, you can validate your markup with the Facebook Object Debugger (needs registration to Facebook).

<meta property="fb:app_id" content="123456789">
<meta property="og:url" content="">
<meta property="og:type" content="website">
<meta property="og:title" content="">
<meta property="og:image" content="">
<meta property="og:description" content="">
<meta property="og:site_name" content="">
<meta property="article:author" content="">

Twitter Cards

Twitter provides a snippet specification that serves a similar purpose to Open Graph. In fact, Twitter will use Open Graph when Cards is not available. You can read more about the various snippet formats in the official Twitter Cards documentation, and you can validate your markup with the Card validator (needs registration to Twitter).

<meta name="twitter:card" content="summary">
<meta name="twitter:site" content="@site_account">
<meta name="twitter:creator" content="@individual_account">
<meta name="twitter:url" content="">
<meta name="twitter:title" content="">
<meta name="twitter:description" content="">
<meta name="twitter:image" content="">

Google also provides a snippet specification that serves a similar purpose to Facebook’s Open Graph or Twitter Cards. This metadata is a subset of’s microdata vocabulary, which covers many other schemas that can describe the content of your pages to search engines. For this reason, this metadata is more generic for SEO, notably for Google’s search-engine, although this vocabulary is also used by Microsoft, Pinterest and Yandex.

You can validate your markup with the Structured Data Testing Tool. Also, please note that this markup requires to add attributes to your top html tag.

<html class="no-js" lang="" itemscope itemtype="">

    <link rel="author" href="">
    <link rel="publisher" href="">
    <meta itemprop="name" content="">
    <meta itemprop="description" content="">
    <meta itemprop="image" content="">


Canonical URL

Signal to search engines and others “Use this URL for this page!” Useful when parameters after a # or ? is used to control the display state of a page. can be indexed as the cleaner, more accurate

<link rel="canonical" href="">

Separate mobile URLs

If you use separate URLs for desktop and mobile users, you should consider helping search engine algorithms better understand the configuration on your web site.

This can be done by adding the following annotations in your HTML pages:

  • on the desktop page, add the link rel="alternate" tag pointing to the corresponding mobile URL, e.g.:

    <link rel="alternate" media="only screen and (max-width: 640px)" href="" >

  • on the mobile page, add the link rel="canonical" tag pointing to the corresponding desktop URL, e.g.:

    <link rel="canonical" href="">

For more information please see:


Web Apps

There are a couple of meta tags that provide information about a web app when added to the Home Screen on iOS:

  • Adding apple-mobile-web-app-capable will make your web app chrome-less and provide the default iOS app view. You can control the color scheme of the default view by adding apple-mobile-web-app-status-bar-style.
<meta name="apple-mobile-web-app-capable" content="yes">
<meta name="apple-mobile-web-app-status-bar-style" content="black">
  • You can use apple-mobile-web-app-title to add a specific sites name for the Home Screen icon.
<meta name="apple-mobile-web-app-title" content="">

For further information please read the official documentation on Apple’s site.

Apple Touch Icons

Apple touch icons are used as icons when a user adds your webapp to the home screen of an iOS devices.

Though the dimensions of the icon can vary between iOS devices and versions one 180×180px touch icon named icon.png and including the following in the <head> of the page is enough:

<link rel="apple-touch-icon" href="icon.png">

For a more comprehensive overview, please refer to Mathias’ article on Touch Icons.

Apple Touch Startup Image

Apart from that it is possible to add start-up screens for web apps on iOS. This basically works by defining apple-touch-startup-image with an according link to the image. Since iOS devices have different screen resolutions it maybe necessary to add media queries to detect which image to load. Here is an example for an iPhone:

<link rel="apple-touch-startup-image" media="(max-device-width: 480px) and (-webkit-min-device-pixel-ratio: 2)" href="img/startup.png">

Chrome Mobile web apps

Chrome Mobile has a specific meta tag for making apps installable to the homescreen which tries to be a more generic replacement to Apple’s proprietary meta tag:

<meta name="mobile-web-app-capable" content="yes">

Same applies to the touch icons:

<link rel="icon" sizes="192x192" href="highres-icon.png">

Theme Color

You can add the theme-color meta extension in the <head> of your pages to suggest the color that browsers and OSes should use if they customize the display of individual pages in their UIs with varying colors.

<meta name="theme-color" content="#ff69b4">

The content attribute extension can take any valid CSS color.

Currently, the theme-color meta extension is supported by Chrome 39+ for Android Lollipop.


When security risks in web services are discovered by users they often lack the channels to disclose them properly. As a result, security issues may be left unreported.

Security.txt defines a standard to help organizations define the process for users to disclose security vulnerabilities securely. Include a text file on your server at .well-known/security.txt with the relevant contact details.

Check for more details.